BACK IN BUSINESS

It’s wait and watch situation for sweet, ice-cream shop owners

It’s wait and watch situation for sweet, ice-cream shop owners

A shortage of labourers and managing fixed expenditures are main worries of Super Cremica Sweets owner. Photo: Sarabjit Singh

Avneet Kaur

Jalandhar, May 29

Despite having put in place all safety precautions — from thermal screening to hand sanitisers at the entrance and fixing a transparent sheet at the cash counter to maintain social distancing with customers, the sales at the famous Super Cremica Sweets are yet to pick up.

The sales of ice-creams and sweets have declined up to 70 to 80 per cent in the current season and with hotels and palaces remaining closed and weddings and other functions becoming a low-key affair, the losses are mounting with every passing day.

Ashok Bhandari, Super Cremica Sweets

Besides, a shortage of labour, managing fixed expenditures and above all, the fear of lockdown 5.0 with fewer relaxations in the wake of increasing Covid cases across the country, are other issues that have been giving sleepless nights to Ashok Bhandari, the owner of the shop based at Company Bagh Chowk here.

Talking to The Tribune about how it feels to be back in business after over two months, he said the sales of ice-creams and sweets had declined up to 70 to 80 per cent in the current season and with hotels and palaces remaining closed and weddings and other functions becoming a low-key affair, the losses were mounting with every passing day.

“The sudden announcement of the lockdown in March gave no time to shopkeepers to manage their stocks. I had material worth Rs 6 lakh, including sweets and ice-creams, in the refrigerator which required to be sold between 20 and 25 days of manufacturing. Although I managed to distribute half of the material among the needy, the remaining products were wasted,” said Bhandari.

Bhandari said these days they had been preparing material in very less quantity fearing any such announcement in the future.

He said the sweat and blood of three generations of his family was invested in this shop. “My father started this sweet shop business in 1970. After that I took the charge and now my son is too involved in it. But I had never witnessed such a slump before. The customer footfall has been reduced to 20 per cent, thus all we can do is wait for the situation to get better,” he added.

On being asked about the new plans or strategies he had adopted to attract customers these days, Ashok said he was still analysing the situation.

“I haven't yet opened my second outlet - the Cremica Restaurant. Although our services are available online, the production and sales equation is not working. Also due to the exodus of migrant workers to their native places, we have been facing staff crunch,” he said.

He said it would take time for the business to regain its normal pace.

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